Freelance transcriptionist to a full time VA is part-3 of an interview from Stefan from Germany, who lives the Four Hour Work Week lifestyle in Thailand.
Click here to read part 2 – Transcription service cost comparison
- Most of the virtual assistants are task specific and do not provide you complete administrative support
- You can turn your freelance transcriptionist into an Ideal-Helper but for that, you need to provide him proper and paid training
- Find someone with good work ethics, little work experience and who’s ready to invest a lot of time for you.
Start of the Interview:
Actually when I’m going that further to hire a freelance transcriptionist, I would like that person to do everything. Like as you said you say something for example a new article?
You talked about that for 30 minutes and at the end of the article, I tell “The article ends” and then the instruction. I tell the assistant in Word form, my instructions.
So, I’ll tell him like, “Please insert that article and back link that”; and, “Please I saw on my website that I need you to do that and that and that also…“ So, basically, I want a full fledge assistant.
From my experience, I haven’t had people that we’re able to deliver that. I found only people that we’re able to do one specific task.
For example, one picture editing or… One article writing or it has to be specific – completely specific. It has to be like a no-brainer. Because being working on your own, a lot of people mess that up.
They don’t understand the instruction very well and that’s my feelings. So, I found it very difficult to find and go outsource some.
Okay. So let me share my thoughts on that. I think you have told the reason to your problems itself when you said instructions need to be completely specific. A child should be able to understand it.
And what you wish to have is an assistant, who completely understands your need; who partially fulfills your wishes before you have formulated them. So, he thinks with you. And that is not possible right from the start. So, I assume it’s not possible.
Let me be more precise. Let’s assume you hire a professional virtual assistant from the USA. Someone who already has experience with many tasks and you will need to invest something like, I don’t know, $70 an hour.
That’s a possible price. And for that, you would receive a professional whom you could say:
“Please build a new WordPress blog; design it like this and that; fill three pages of content, interlink them using the latest this and that technology; and then, embed my advertisements using the forms I provide you here.”
That, I think, is sort of the thing you’re looking for.
Yeah. That would be ideal. That would be perfect.
Okay. So let’s try for that. Since my website is called Ideal-helper, let’s try to find a way to give you that ideal helper. My site was inspired, sort of, of my assistant whom I have found because, for me, he is the ideal helper.
However to get that there, you have to invest time, patience and, of course money because training your assistant should be an activity that is paid for him.
If you propose to your assistant, “I will train you but you will receive no money”; you take away his time. With his time, he could do other outsourcing work.
That’s not reasonable. Nobody would do that, of course.
Okay. So if we agree about that, my general rough plan on finding the ideal assistant is to find someone who has good work ethics possibly with less work experience than more because this will lower the starting price. And who’s ready to invest a lot of time for you. Find someone whom you feel is loyal and starts with very basic, simple tasks.
As you mentioned, picture research. That’s a perfect example. At the beginning, you do all the work yourself. As you do it, you use video instructions to instruct your assistant on how you do the work yourself.
You cannot expect your freelance transcriptionist to do the work perfectly without you giving him perfect instructions. Over time, you can expand the areas of expertise your assistant works for you. So, train your assistant until he is perfect for you with picture research.
Let me give you an example, I am using my assistant for picture research too. First, I asked him to use free pictures from Flickr which were from the Creative Commons domain.
Then I expanded to, “Please insert the attribution links under the Flickr pictures. And on Flickr, write a short comment with the link back to where a post sits the picture for SEO purposes.”
Then I expanded this task to, “Please research stock photos on different stock photo banks based on the content of the article and I would pay for that.” Then I expanded it too, I prepaid an account and my virtual assistant just purchases the pictures as needed.
And now we’re getting into an area which I haven’t put on my work set yet so this is premium content, my assistant found out a way to find stock photos for free.
Let me explain, he found that on the internet from time to time there are promotions from different stock photo banks. There are more Stock Photo banks than iStock photos and Fotolia. There are many more.
Those promotions we’re like coupons for 10 free stock photos. He researched them and gathered them. And then, he added several Stock Photo banks with free credits all the time. So now, I’m not paying for Stock Photos. This is like the ultimate picture researcher.
Yeah. That sounds very good, actually.
And, of course, there are more tasks to outsourcing when you have a website than picture research. In a similar way, expand but only after your virtual assistant is doing good work at the simple task you have given him. This will take some time.
I have worked with my virtual assistant for more than 2 years and it took, I guess, half a year until I expanded into many different projects.
Because I understood he was an extremely great guy who understood instructions effectively and proposes solutions from time to time. At the beginning he was rather shy about it.
I encourage my assistant all the time in my video instructions and say something like:
“Hey, if you have any idea to do that better, please don’t hesitate to tell me.”
Or I said even something like, “Hey if you think what I’m doing is crap, if what I’m doing is ineffective, don’t hesitate to tell me. I will not be mad. You can criticize me at all times.”
It took a few months and then he started to do that in a very polite way.
Yeah. I outsourced a job where I wrote off the design and the redrawing of my pictures in my E-book. So he has to redraw or find a way to redraw the pictures for copyright reasons.
And the other thing is to redesign the layout and fix the entire layout and finish it up so that I end up with a ready and completed E-book that I can tell for my website.
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